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No UberT20 at Taunton

By Grockle et al
February 21 2018

Well its not a surprise, we knew this one well in advance but it has been interesting watching the suprise of others who it seems weren't aware of this strange decision to remove 'premier' short form cricket from the South West, unless, as some have,you try and say Southampton and Cardiff are in the region!!  Here's the club's response.

Somerset made a statement today concerning the decision to not base a new UberT20 side in Somerset at Taunton or include us as an international ground after the World Cup before 2024

“Many of you will have seen that the England and Wales Cricket Board last week announced the ten venues that will host high profile international and domestic men’s matches for the five-year period from 2020.

It won’t have escaped your attention that the Cooper Associates County Ground was not amongst that list and I feel that in order to quell a great deal of speculation and rumour it is important for Somerset County Cricket Club to outline our position.

When we were awarded the England v South Africa IT20 for 2017 it was made quite clear to us that we would not be eligible to apply for further fixtures in this vein until we met the minimum criteria, which is 15,000 seats within the venue.

As a Club we do not have the appetite to take on the debt that achieving a capacity of 15,000 would incur and consequently we did not apply for this latest round of fixtures.

What we would rather do is make Taunton the very best County Ground in the country with a capacity of up to 12,000 spectators.

Having said that, we will be actively lobbying for high profile matches to be held here where possible and we do expect to host some smaller international fixtures that have yet to be scheduled.

Let us not forget that we will be staging three matches during next year’s ICC World Cup which is a tremendous honour for the Club and the region as a whole. I have no doubt that these fixtures will be extremely well attended and that we will once again demonstrate to cricket supporters from all over the world that we are more than capable of staging highly successful international fixtures.”

Our Ex-Chairman Andy Nash has made a great deal of the opportunities that may come our way in the future once we get past this little obstacle of being some 6000 short of the capacity required (unless we use quite extensive temporary stands I believe). 

This shortfall does not seem to have been part of the analysis of what was 'best for the game as a whole' when the club voted in favour of the new urban T20 competition seemingly against the wishes of the majority of its membership - no poll was held to check this before the vote was recorded. 

We are an attractive ground it seems and have shown our ability to hold short form internationals at the ground for both men and women.  However we do not feature in the plans of the governing body for the next 6 years in terms of fixtures and will be without the revenue from premier T20 games from 2020 onwards although we do get the £1.4 million payoff (a bribe to some) from the ECB for being good boys and not 'rocking the boat'.

One has to ask where the revenue will be coming from to allow the 15000 capaciity to be reached in the next few years and whether a) the attractiveness of our ground or b) the needs of the overstretched Test venues will be uppermost in the minds of the ECB when it retunrs to the deliberations of allocation of matches in half a decade. 

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No UberT20 at Taunton (IP Logged)
21/02/2018 17:43
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Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Grizzzly (IP Logged)
21/02/2018 18:11
Must admit I wasn't aware of the 15,000 capacity requirement.

No mention of the impact of the T20 franchise teams not visiting Taunton.

Given all of this, is there really much point in spending a load of money on floodlights ?


Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
nelliec (IP Logged)
21/02/2018 18:49
Looking at our T20 home games this season,I think floodlights are a must Grizzly.
All our home Wednesday and Friday games start at 4.30 pm instead of 5.30pm last year.Why Ive got no idea?????, but there is no way you can expect say 2000 possible supporters to be given time off work to attend, or been given any chance of finding somewhere to park in rush hour traffic on a friday afternoon in the centre of Taunton.

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Tom Seymour (IP Logged)
21/02/2018 19:11
"Let us not forget that we will be staging three matches during next year’s ICC World Cup which is a tremendous honour for the Club and the region as a whole."

Is this a monumental achievement Mr Cooper?

When the ICC World Cup was held here in 1999, all 18 counties hosted games in the Group and Super 6 stages of the competition, as did Ireland, Scotland and Holland. That did not include the semi - finals and final. Most counties (including our poorer cousins, and with respect to them Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Northants) were awarded 2 games, and some got 3.

Taunton hosted 2 games - India v. Sri Lanka and Kenya v. Zimbabwe, both of which I was fortunate to attend.

I imagine that there will be a similar distribution of games for next year’s competition. We have not been awarded these 3 games solely on the grounds that we have the “best county ground in the country.”

What absolute bilge!

A glass half - empty or a glass half - full?
Regardless, both glasses need filling up.

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Grockle (IP Logged)
22/02/2018 03:58
There have been a number of comments about this 'best county ground' aspect on Twitter. Although I think it is one of the best, have we had some kind of award?

It was always a kind of 'elephant in the room' that we were spending money to get B category status and some seemed to think this would 'guarantee' some kind of income in the future. However most took the more realistic view that it was very little more than a bit of extra dosh on occasions. With too many Test grounds plus Bristol and Cardiff in the mix, the best we could hope for on a tri-annual basis was maybe an England v Bangladesh or Afghanistan match. To many of us that was a minor side show to the main one of creating better facilities for the watching public.

From the comments this week we find out that the ground is NOT finished as a B category venue and the T20 last season was a 'one off' until it is and the idea that we were going to survive with no TV and game money from the new competition by taking advantage of the 'many opportunities' for international cricket was always and will remain cloud cuckoo land. The false impression that we were going to get some games in the new UberT20 was always a false flag for convenience. It was never the plan - the Somerset faithful are not the audience and it would give no revenue to the Test grounds in cities that were always the beneficiaries. I do not think the ECB has finished marginalising the provinces yet so there may very well be more to come concerning one day and Championship cricket before the 2020 start of the debacle that will be T20.

Why didn't we know about the capacity issue?.

It looks very much like the floodlights, although sensibly financed, may be a little too late except to illuminate the car park for late night shoppers and provide an extra incentive for a supermarket chain to buy when the County Ground goes up for sale. My flat purchasing plans are still on hold as I see nothing positive beyond the medium term for the attractive but surplus to requirements County Ground.

Can anyone see when we are going to build the 2 to 3,000 seater stand which seems to be the minimum we need to create a 15000 person gate (with temporary additions)?

Unless the crowds flock in for 'Division 2' VitalityBlast 2020 - 2024 because there is no other cricket to watch this side of Birmngham and Southampton (except on the tv) I struggle to work out where the money is coming from.

It won't be from Mr Cooper whacking up the 'on the gate' prices so unless we make a lot from the T20's in the next 2 years and save it all I don't see B category arriving for the 2024 deliberations either.


Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 2018:02:22:04:23:50 by Grockle.

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Grockle (IP Logged)
22/02/2018 04:02
Apologies for the state of the front page story. I was doing it in the dark without my glasses on and using the TV as a monitor because I broke my laptop screen. And that all showed. I've put it right this morning.


Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Mike TA1 (IP Logged)
22/02/2018 09:01
Can anyone see when we are going to build the 2 to 3,000 seater stand which seems to be the minimum we need to create a 15000 person gate (with temporary additions)?

I was speaking to somebody yesterday who have seen plans for a two tiered stand in that big gap where the new scoreboard is going, with food outlets, office space underneath, I can tell you because it didn't come from somebody working for the club.

I was told next winter for it to be built, now with Grockles news story above will that rubber stamp it or will that change things, do they go for the extra capacity or now decide it doesn't justify the cost.

I keep saying this, the flood-lights have other uses other than just for International matches.

Edit - next season our T20 matches will be able to start at 5.30, and bad light day's

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:02:22:09:04:21 by Mike TA1.

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Bagpuss (IP Logged)
22/02/2018 11:25
As someone who has forgone her 2-3 T20 outings this year and downgraded to Champo membership I hadn't noticed the 4.30 start time. How very odd. I guess at least everyone will know exactly where their seat is when they finally arrive an hour into the game though.

A conspiratory theorist might suggest the club will have good reason to go ahead with the floodlights next winter, when they tell us that 1/3 of the ground was empty for the first hour, so we need to be able to push start times back to 7.

I do worry that floodlights will not prove to be the panacea for poor light in the future as I would expect them to come with a raft of restrictions on when we can use them. Half a dozen T20 matches, maybe a couple of day-night 50 overs an if we have a women's international or two that require provisions for lights our annual quota might not allow for much championship illumination.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:02:22:11:32:40 by Bagpuss.

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Mike TA1 (IP Logged)
22/02/2018 12:00
Bagpuss, your 7pm start with flood-light is more realistic than my 5.30 start.

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Clarence Parker (IP Logged)
22/02/2018 12:56
"Can anyone see when we are going to build the 2 to 3,000 seater stand which seems to be the minimum we need to create a 15000 person gate (with temporary additions)?"

We will need a lot more capacity than the proposed new stand to get up to the magic 15,000, Mike.

A cantilever stand over Gimblett's Hill plus a further stand between the Ondaatje and Somerset Pavilions (as we had for the International T20 last year) won't get us up to that magic number.

The capacity for that game was far short of 15,000. It is all a bit of a White Elephant as far as attracting regular "big games" is concerned.

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Mike TA1 (IP Logged)
22/02/2018 13:11
I did realise that Clarence, that would be part way towards it.

I did hear talk (just talk) about the Botham and CA Pavilion being replaced.

That is serious money so I can't see that happening any time soon.

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Railboy (IP Logged)
22/02/2018 19:09
Haven’t seen the T20 fixture list myself, but could it be the 4.30 start time is 4.30 GMT and therefore 5.30 BST? Bizarre if so, but even crazier if it really is a 4.30 start.

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
cricketharris (IP Logged)
22/02/2018 21:35
Vitality Blast (which sounds to me something that should take place in private and behind a closed door) starts at Taunton at 2.30, 4.00, 4.30 and 5.30. Just to confuse the drunks.

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
wsm fan (IP Logged)
22/02/2018 23:27
The August home Weekday T20s are 4.30pm starts due to light worries.
So we have 2 Friday 5.30s. 2 Sundays 2.30 & 4pm.
Then in Aug 1 Wednesday 4.30 & 2 Fridays 4.30

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Grockle (IP Logged)
23/02/2018 10:43
The stands set up for the South Africa game took us to 12000. If that is the case then something permanent now has to be considerably modified or we need 'mother' size temp stands in every bit of space. Doesn't it have to be temporary because we need it so infrequently?

What is the point of heavy duty investment when the quantity of the cricket where we sell out is going to decrease as we lose our place in 'premier' T20? No TV revenue either for those.

I understand that the managment think we can maintain audiences for the secondary domestic T20 series but without our main stars and international draw players I'm not so sure that the punters will turn up in numbers at spontaneous prices of up to 40 quid each.

I just don't see how the numbers add up.


Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
AG on apple (IP Logged)
23/02/2018 12:17
I suspected, all along, that spending lots of money to try to get international cricket would not pay off (from a balancing the books point of view) and it now seems certain that it will not do so.

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Mike TA1 (IP Logged)
23/02/2018 13:14
There is another way of looking at spending money on more seating capacity.

Last season for the International match the increase in the expenditure involved on the previous year for seating and associated cost was -

Seating and Tentage £158,810
Rent and Preparation £138,059.

Those two items alone amount to £296,869 increase on the previous year.

How many years before it would it pay for itself without all that extra cost each time we held a big match?

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Clarence Parker (IP Logged)
23/02/2018 13:35
To whom do we pay any "Rent"?

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Mike TA1 (IP Logged)
23/02/2018 13:53
I don't know Clarence, maybe there are items we don't own and rent instead.

Do we own those four electronic advertising displays around the boundary edge?

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
AG on apple (IP Logged)
23/02/2018 14:11
Let’s hope we’ve not been renting the scoreboard (TIC)

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
nelliec (IP Logged)
23/02/2018 18:54
I think most people would just be happy with a permanent stand similar to what was there before ,just a bit longer to stretch the whole length of the gap, with a little more leg room.If they want to put temporary stands behind that so be it.
Unfortunately it will be a similar temporary to las year,with just enough room to sit down with people squeezing past every 2 minutes.
I wonder if they would consider allowing people to bring their own chairs in for championship games,Probably the best sun spot on the ground!!

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Grockle (IP Logged)
24/02/2018 04:28
I think there is a cost for setting up and maintaining the stands and then a rental for how long you keep it up for. We had them there for quite a while.


Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Grizzzly (IP Logged)
24/02/2018 16:39
Yes, they were there for an extended period & from recollection weren't used for many weeks after initially being put up.

It would seem logical that the cost would be based on how long we had the stands in the ground, regardless of when we/the ECB chose to use them.

Presumably all based on logistics.


Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Clarence Parker (IP Logged)
24/02/2018 19:53
"Seating and Tentage and Rent and Preparation" were headings of match expenditure that appeared regularly in the club's accounts even in the 1990's.

Then of course we played on various outgrounds - Bath, Weston - super - Mare, Glastonbury etc. and no doubt we had to pay rent to the ground owners, put up tents and seats and prepare the ground for a First Class fixture.

The amount under these 2 heads for 2017 amounted to £416,130 (an increase of just under £300,000 over 2016). I am not sure what was included under the account heads, but I suspect that the presentation in the accounts was the result of some lazy bookkeeping and accounting.

I have no doubt or concern that the money was indeed spent on match expenses, but the accounts could and should have been made clearer.

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Grockle (IP Logged)
25/02/2018 05:56
That huge temporary stand was here unused for a considerable amount of time - it could have had some thing to do with when it could be set up and how long it took to get it OK'd from a safety point of view but it is a lot of money.


Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Tractor (IP Logged)
25/02/2018 09:12
Very interested to read this in The Times this week (Thursday, page 67) about the ECB venues for future matches. The full online piece is here, but you have to register for this specific bit ...

"Despite having spent tens of millions of pounds to become Test match grounds there will be no Tests in the next few years at Durham, Hampshire or Cardiff."
"These grounds, though, will stage one-day internationals. They have been in receipt of significant amounts of public money to stay afloat. Somerset, a model English county, with minimum debt, controlled and self-funded expansion, an academy that produces a significant number of good, young English players, is absent from the list entirely."

We all knew this, but doesn't it sound good coming from Mike Atherton?

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
hantssabre (IP Logged)
25/02/2018 10:50
And here's the full article in The Times if you don't want to register


Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
AGod (IP Logged)
25/02/2018 12:07
I can't quite put into words how much I hope Middx simply tell Morgan "Nah, no ta."

"This week, England’s one-day captain, Eoin Morgan, who has not played a first-class game in nearly three years, offered his services in first-class cricket to his county, Middlesex, for the forthcoming English season. Shorn of an IPL deal, he finds himself at a loose end. Whether he is good enough to get in the team remains to be seen."

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
AGod (IP Logged)
25/02/2018 12:11
But, more widely, there seems little doubt that the advent of the Godawful city based T20 will help to further kill off the county game, as more people follow Adil Rashid's lead and try to focus only on white ball to increase their chances of some stupidly inflated contract paid for playing in that unmitigated dross.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to be in love with our national summer sport.

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Hants01 (IP Logged)
25/02/2018 14:00
Somerset miss out on being one of the hosts of this new competition; I don't they are missing out on anything. It's not something to crave for.

On Atherton's article, he ought to remember Durham providing Stokes, Wood, etc. and Hampshire-despite the Kolpakshire reputation- have at least supplied Dawson, Vince, Crane, etc.

I work on the basis that anything Rod Bransgrove is in favour of is a bad idea. The new franchise he so enthuses about I believe will be a disaster that we can abort quickly. The pending disastrous performance of the Test team, caused by the marginalisation of the Championship will concentrate minds. Good luck to Mason Crane in getting a CC match other than a visit to Taunton. I doubt the best overseas players will come here- AB de Villiers, Kohli? Really?! The England players will, I suspect be spared it (lucky them). The teams, manufactured, will have no identity with no reference to placenames. We need to take the two positives that will come from this nonsense: 1) the return of some festival cricket as the franchises uses the bigger county grounds and 2) the return of live cricket on the BBC.

I am surprised Bransgrove didn't play his hand differently by saying Hampshire won't make themselves available for the franchise, unless it gets an Ashes Test and leaving itself ready to withdraw a bid in the event of being passed over (which it was).

I see the franchises going the same way as say...the old Refuge Assurance semi-finals!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:02:25:14:02:02 by Hants01.

Re: No UberT20 at Taunton
Grizzzly (IP Logged)
25/02/2018 18:01
Very good article by Athers. Dare I say a rare outbreak of common sense, albeit with few answers offered.

The comments at the foot of the article are also interesting. I wonder if "Graham Rose" (comment approx. number 11) is the one & only GR who graced us for so many years ?


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